I get as sparkly-eyed as the next person around Christmas-time, and I love many things about it. The snow and sparkling icicles are magical. The celebrations with friends and family are fantastic. The joy of knowing Christ put on humanity in order to give the people God the Father cherished abundant life is wonderful. The hunt for personalized, meaningful gifts is thrilling. Still, it’s never quite been my favorite time of year.
I’ve struggled to put it into words before now, but I think I’ve finally understood.
My favorite time of year is Easter. It always has been. I’ve never gotten much in the way of presents on Easter, although my mom tried to make sure I always had a basket of chocolated to find and maybe a new dress for church. There wasn’t anything that marked our Easter feast more special than the ones we had at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet, it’s always my favorite celebration of the year.
I love Easter because it heralds the warmer weather, growing things, and new life. I love Easter because I really can’t think of anything more exciting than celebrating Christ’s defeat of death and the victory we are all able to access! And I think what pushes my love for Easter in front of even Christmas is how focused Easter is.
Celebrating Jesus’ victory is hard to eclipse with a silly bunny that leaves candy in eggs. It’s not about the challenge between secular and Christian, vying for social power on the holidays. As a Christian, I still find it difficult to maintain the balance and connection between Christ’s birth and the gift-giving fun we have together. I get it, but the lure of shiny things really is DISTRACTING. I find it much easier to completely ignore and downright scoff at a confused rabbit that delivers treats in plastic eggs. Christ has defeated DEATH. That’s a concept so powerful, it’s hard to diffuse it with commercialism (in my opinion).
With Easter, I find so much more freedom. I’m free to rejoice in my God-given victory over sin and the sting of death. I’m free to ignore the lame attempts to distract me from the celebration of my King. I’m free to be motivated into service by God’s joy in my heart rather than wrestling with feelings of obligation and guilt-trips. I’m free to remember who I am in Christ and my spirit soars with the knowledge that I am His and He is mine!
Don’t misunderstand; I love Christmas and I am doing what I can to reclaim the celebration from commercialism and Santa Claus distractions. I’m actually planning to read up on incorporating Jewish holidays into our every day family life this coming year to combat distractions of all kinds. I believe celebration is vitally important to us as Christians and should have a regular place in our lives. I also believe God is the author of celebration and wants us to enjoy as well as work hard, to keep focused on why we do all that work in the first place. All I’m saying is I find that focus easier to keep during Easter celebrations than at any other time of year.
What’s your favorite time of year? Do you know why you like it so much?